The paramount importance of air freight in keeping the globe rotating and maintaining supply chains as best as possible, became evident during the pandemic as a consequence of the crisis. Cargo’s role was recognized before, but its reputation was lousy, despite mantra-like hymns of praise sung by protagonists at congresses, conferences, meetings, and trade fairs. Sweet words, with manageable impact, often unheard by airline executives when fleet decisions or investments in warehouse capacity stood on the agenda. But COVID-19 has triggered a wake-up call and caused a rethink. This is exemplified by the ground handling agent, Swissport, which announced that it is placing its strategic focus on cargo.
Air freight traditionally plays a key role in the sales and revenues generated by the ground handling agent. Now the company has announced that it intends to further strengthen its air cargo business. The first visible sign of this, is the decision to consolidate the responsibilities for the cargo business by creating the role of a Global Cargo Chair. The chosen one for that task is Dirk Goovaerts, Swissport’s Head of Middle East & Africa region, who will have the task of growing and developing this part of the company’s business.
Mr. Goodart’s key focus areas
Asked for a comment, the manager says: “The new Global Cargo Chair allows me to act as a sponsor for operational excellence, responding to the needs of the customers, and bringing our experts from across the network together.” Sharing best practices, jointly developing strategies, and aligning in the development of new markets are key focus areas. “Initially, this means supporting and leading short-term and high-impact cargo topics. In the longer term, the Global Cargo Chair will evolve into a more strategic role focusing on a collaborative approach and alignment with industry stakeholders. It will also help drive innovation, efficiency, and sustainability,” he describes his future responsibilities. “Our goal is to become the air cargo handler of choice, delivering operational excellence for existing and potential customers in 116 warehouses around the world.”
Restructuring the market setup
Prior to joining the Zurich-based ground handling agent, Mr. Goovaerts was CEO Asia Pacific with dnata. Other previous roles include positions as COO of Saudi Ground Services Company, and Senior VP Europe with Menzies Aviation.
Simultaneously to nominating Mr. Goodaerts, Swissport announced the redesign of its market setup, appointing new regional managers for Continental Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The revised structure creates larger market clusters with direct reporting lines to the CEO and eliminates the former three super-regions and their respective regional overheads, delivering better customer focus and faster decisions, Warwick Brady, president & CEO of Swissport International stresses. “Our new structure will make Swissport more customer centric. It enables faster decisions and supports operational excellence and a consistent service delivery,” the executive emphasizes.
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